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‘A Dirty Picture’ of women liberation

Portrayal of the life and lust of Silk Smitha, a South Indian bombshell of the 80s, by Vidya Balan in the Hindi film ‘The Dirty Picture’ makes for a bold blockbuster.

While Vidya’s talent is unquestionable, the film’s message is confusing and questionable. The film has no point to prove and achieves nothing, apart from titillating the audiences and showing the chauvinistic Bollywood film fraternity that a female actor can carry a film single-handedly on her shoulders to runaway commercial success.

The OPED article ‘Neither Feminine nor Feminist’ (March 27) is an analysis of the misinterpretation and misrepresentation of women empowerment in contemporary Indian cinema.

What opinion can one make on the story of a woman who exploits her own body to exploit men, gets repeatedly hoodwinked in return, is regarded as either a joke or a prostitute, and later is forced to commit suicide? Is this the height of feminism or sensational stereotyping? The excessive use of obscenity and crass visualisation has lowered, rather than promoted (as is being claimed), the cause of the modern Indian woman’s sexual liberation.

‘The Dirty Picture’, rather perversely, reinforces the idea of a woman being either good or bad. While ‘good’ girls go to heaven, ‘bad’ girls go everywhere and end up committing suicide.

Shelley Walia is the first intellectual to point out that while ‘The Dirty Picture’ is entertainment for the masses and Vidya Balan deserves the National Award for best actress, the movie does no favour to the Indian woman. Therefore, it does not deserve to be regarded and rewarded as a feminist statement.

KAMNA SINGH, Chandigarh


The writer potently highlights the erroneous sense of liberty and empowerment that the film ‘Dirty Picture’ promotes. The film promotes the commodification of women wherein although, “women have always been used by men; it is now for women to use them for pleasure and material gain”.

The film owes its success more to the blatant pornography that is made easily available to the vast majority of cine-goers who do not have to make clandestine visits to websites offering explicit content. For much of the illiterate Indian audience, (who let alone comprehending Silk Smitha’s disturbed life, that allegedly pushed her into this ‘dirty’ business, would not even know who she is that Vidya Balan portrays), it is the bold visuals and insinuating gestures of Balan that has managed to attract their attention.

Dear Ms Balan and Ms Ekta, a national award may boost your morale but it most certainly will cause great damage to the image of women who will be continued to look upon only as objects of desire.


Appropriate verdict

A Chandigarh court has awarded the most appropriate verdict by confirming capital punishment (death penalty) to the guilty for drug trafficking (“Death penalty for drug peddler”, March 27). It goes to the credit of the judiciary which is trying to salvage our society from social evils.

This stringent verdict will send a bold signal to the anti-social elements elements from daring to indulge in drug trafficking and will instill a sense of fear in their minds. The society should be educated about the ill-effects of drug abuse through NGOs, mass media, school health programmes and even through religious bodies.


Global integration

BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) economies hold special significance for the contemporary world. All the five economies underwent economic crises in the post-World War II scenario and all of them exhibited unique pragmatism and resilience to combat harsh realities.

Joining hands under the aegis of BRICS puts them in a situation which requires a new mindset on the part of their leadership so as to contribute effectively to world peace and prosperity and a feeling of integration.

BRICS is another effort to give a unified response to problems affecting the world. India and China should see beyond the economic aspect of the summit. Their joint endeavour should ensure controlling their rising population curves while achieving rising economic integration.


Work on solutions

Prof Ranjit Singh Ghuman in his article “Enough of populism, now try growth” (March 28) has made a serious attempt to decipher what went wrong with the economy in Punjab over the years? 19 per cent of the population in Punjab is poor. From 1964-65 to 1992-93, Punjab ranked first in per capita income among all states in India.

Thereafter, Punjab’s rank of in per capita income has fallen continuously and now it occupies the eight rank. We need to find reasons for the downturn, the steps suggested by the writer could be helpful. Obviously, it is a difficult task for the Badal Government. Good governance is the only solution.


Everybody not corrupt

No  doubt  Team  Anna  is  offended  by the  attitude  of the  government and the political parties towards the Lokpal  Bill, but  they  must not be abusive (news  report "MPs unite to slam Kejriwal’s ‘thieves & rapists’ remarks", March  27). There might be many MPs who are true to their work, so clubbing all of them in the same bracket wouldn’t be fare.


Warning to civilised society

Shelley Walia’s article ‘Neither Feminine nor Feminist’ on Vidya Balan's portrayal in ‘The Dirty Picture’ is a warning to our society which is writhing under western influence in displaying sexuality. One is not sure whether it is the film stars who expose and demonstrate their bodies or it is Bollywood that seems to have assumed on itself the right to project what is otherwise considered uncivilised and obtuse, with immunity; or the Censor Board which may be hand-in-glove with them.

Col MAHESH CHADHA, Panchkula



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